Al Qaeda’s Justification
June 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Following the US’s assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the US’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is once again taking center stage at debates. There is a reoccurring argument, which states that Al Qaeda was formed as a retaliating force to the West’s foreign policies (especially the US) and that the war on Afghanistan was wrong to initiate, since the Taliban would have delivered Bin Laden to US custody, if only, the US could provide evidence that he was behind the 9/11 bombing, as they requested at the time.
Surprisingly a large number of people subscribe to these arguments or at least feel strongly that the US shares as much responsibility for the situation. This behaviour could be the result of the West’s democracy and free speech, which has given people the freedom to consider these claims, while not fearing persecution or even for publically doubting their governments’ motives and directly accusing them of moral wrongdoing.
The open attitude of the West to freedom of speech, which it holds as one of the pillars of a free society has created an acceptance to misinformation and misleading by presentation of facts out of context. There is a layer of political correctness that created a gap in common sense. In this space shoddy figures strive, as the self-deprecating antigovernment narrative always finds enough audience rewarding its promoter both financially and with publicity.
While criticising our representatives is our main defence to fend off our exploitation, it is important to understand to whom we might be lending our support and therefore question the other side equally.
Al Qaeda was formed in 1988, well before the Afghanistan or Iraq war. It bases its ideology amongst other things, on the writings of Sayyid Qutb, which believed that the Muslims have a duty to follow strict Islamic law by creating a Muslim state and ridding their world of Jews and Orientals. In a fatwa issued in 1996, Bin Laden argued that the US must be driven out of Arab land and all the governments cooperating with the West such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be overthrown and replaced with one ruler over the entire region. Achieving these goals would allow the Muslims to once more establish a Caliphate, which in essence would be an empire with no national borders stretching on all Arab land run by one man with divine authority, the Caliph.
The reasoning behind the war on the West has evolved over the years. In the same Fatwa in 1996 Osama and Al Qaeda declared that the reasons for the need to fight the West are (besides of the existence of the Jewish state, Israel, on Arab land) the “…massacres in Tajikistan, Burma, Kashmir, Assam, the Philippines, Fatani, Ogaden, Somalia, Eritrea, Chechnya, and Bosnia-Herzegovina…” However since 9/11, when Al Qaeda achieved the public exposure it was seeking, the reasoning for the attacks focused on Israel as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, which unsurprisingly are controversial issues that separate people in the same way that liberals have a different view of life than conservatives. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to believe that Al Qaeda’s “marketing” of their ideology was tweaked, in order to apply pressure on the topic, which would widen the gap of the two beliefs and ultimately increase the convictions of their sympathisers, most of which were young Muslims or people with resentment to the government.
Regarding the claim of the Taliban turning in Bin Laden, it is necessary to examine Bin Laden’s relationship with Afghanistan’s ruling party, which has always been close. Bin Laden claimed that the Taliban rule has made Afghanistan into a model Muslim state, governed by Sharia. Under the Taliban, pre-9/11, Al Qaeda was given free reign and established training camps, where most terrorist received their training and inspiration for attacks on the West. Given that fact, it is absurd to think that there was any substance behind the claim that the Taliban would have delivered Bin Laden into the US hands, had the US only been able to provide enough proof that Bin Laden was behind the attacks.
The other criticism often thrown at the US is that it is their imperialistic nature that Al Qaeda opposes. However any anti-Empire person looking onto Al Qaeda to dispel this notion, shouldn’t side with Al Qaeda on this matter, as Al Qaeda openly seek to create a Muslim Empire. Furthermore, one of Al Qaeda’s grievances was the establishment of a Christian rule in East Timor, ignoring the fact that it is a region with a clear Christian majority, which wanted to break away from bigger Muslim Indonesia.
Last but not least, it should never be overlooked that Al Qaeda’s ideology seeks to obliterate millions of people’s rights and freedoms. As no doubt a true Muslim state under Sharia does not support democracy, does not allow women’s education or equality, believes that homosexuality is punishable by death as well as other laws, which the West finds as human rights violations. For anyone that would use the claim that most Muslim countries propagate this attitude anyway, it has been made very clear recently by the uprisings that this is not the will of the people and Al Qaeda would most certainly stop this situation from evolving into the Middle East democracies that its people seek and are for which they are willing to risk their lives.
Therefore anyone that believes that Al Qaeda’s anti US motives are justified and believe that the solution would be for the US to leave the Middle East, should ask themselves, who would benefit from this action and more importantly, whether they truly believe that this would be the last time Al Qaeda disrupts the Western world.